Coronavirus latest news: New Year’s revelries muted as 44m people wake up in Tier 4 restrictions

People planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve have been warned they must leave the parties for later next year as “Covid loves a crowd”.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England’s national medical director, said staying at home and seeing in 2021 “within the rules” will reduce infections and relieve pressure on hospitals.

“We know it’s the end of the year, it’s a time where people traditionally want to celebrate,”he said.

“But it’s absolutely vital that this year, everybody continues to follow the guidance by staying at home and not mixing.”

Prof Powis added: “We can all play a part in fighting this terrible virus: stay at home, mark the New Year with just nearest and dearest within the rules.

“This action will reduce infections, relieve pressures on hospitals, and that’s how everybody can help to save a life.

“Covid loves a crowd, so please leave the parties for later in the year.”

His plea came as more than three quarters of England’s population woke up today in tough Tier 4 restrictions, where non-essential shops, as well as gyms, cinemas, casinos and hairdressers, have to stay shut.

People are also limited to meeting one other person from another household in an outdoor public space, and must not leave their Tier 4 area except for legally permitted reasons such as medical appointments.

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